Such has been the extraordinary enthusiasm shown by those commenting on the Undead Backbrain article about director Daisuke “Daice” Sato’s short film version of Ray Bradbury’s famous story “The Fog Horn” that Mr Sato and his crew from Replica Co. Ltd have decided to pursue an official release.
Avery Battles [aka Kaiju Search-Robot Avery] reports that Mr Sato has already begun work on an English subtitled track and is investigating ways in which all those whose comments convinced him there was a deep-felt desire to see The Fog Horn will be able to do so as soon as possible.
“Mr Sato would like to thank everyone who has commented and shown interest in his homage to the great Ray Bradbury’s original story. He was very moved by all of the wonderful comments and support that fans from around the world have been giving him.”
Mr Sato is currently investigating how to go about obtaining a release. He would like to make the film’s world premiere in the US, the home of the story’s original creator. G-Fest — the annual US celebration of Japanese giant monsters — has been mentioned as a potential option. On behalf of Mr Sato, Avery has contacted J.D. Lees, editor of G-Fan and G-Fest coordinator, and he has indeed expressed interest in the possibility of screening the film at G-Fest and having the director present at the event.
But before these plans and the possibility of a DVD release can be moved forward there are some major legal issues of copyright to be dealt with.
As it stands, the short film is an unauthorized adaptation of a story by SF author Ray Bradbury, produced without any intention that it would ever be released.
“It was made as an experiment, a demonstration of the crew’s technical skills,” Avery said. “It was a labor of love and a tribute to the major SF-fantasy author who had inspired Mr Sato so deeply.”
The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, ostensibly the first film version of Ray Bradbury’s “The Fog Horn”, may be a significant work in itself, but Mr Sato felt that it did not do proper justice to Bradbury’s evocative and emotionally powerful story. In fact, the events of the story are almost an afterthought in the main narrative.
Mr Sato wanted to do the real story justice while paying homage to one of the great writers of world literature. “The Fog Horn” was a story that had inspired him to work on films in the first place and so when he and his colleagues decided to test their abilities by making a short film, this naturally seemed like a good choice.
That it was never intended for public release explains why it has remained unseen since it was made two years ago. It is only now that its existence has been uncovered and fans from all over the globe have come forward to express their interest in seeing it that Mr Sato feels a need to pursue its release. Naturally, any official release of the film is for now on hold, until proper permission can be gained from Mr Bradbury.
“Mr Sato and his crew want to do the right thing and give the fans what they want, especially as so many of those fans are fans of Mr Bradbury’s work as well,” Avery added. “But they wish to do so in a manner that is respectful to Mr Bradbury’s ownership of the story.”
Steps are already being taken in this regard and hopefully Mr Sato will be able to come to a respectful agreement that will please both the parties as well as the fans.
“Mr Sato and his crew have nothing but respect and admiration for Ray Bradbury and wish to do the right thing,” Avery added.
Even should permission be gained from the copyright holders, there is then the matter of finding a company willing to undertake the production and distribution of a DVD — preferably an all-region DVD accessible to the worldwide fan-base. From the response we’ve seen, this is what fans want and is preferable to some sort of file-download arrangement.
“It’s important that we remember that Mr Sato fully funded this film himself and his Replica Co. Ltd. co-workers assisted him on the production. No one involved sought to make money from the project. Mr Sato and his colleagues are workers within the film industry, but acting on their own initiative. They don’t have significant amounts of money behind them. But all fully support the release of the film and will cooperate with Mr Sato to prepare it once proper permission is obtained.”
Mr Sato also says that in anticipation of all parties coming to an agreement he is working on a temporary English subtitled track for the film so that he can send a copy to festivals for approval to be screened in the US. However, what he will be sending out will be the rough cut. If Ray Bradbury agrees and an American screening can go ahead, he will bring an exclusive revised edition to be premiered as he wants to work on some technical issues he feels need to be addressed. The Fog Horn was a very low budget production and there was no intention at the time that it would be seen by a public audience. There remain some parts he would like to improve and he wants to enhance the overall quality in order to offer the best experience for viewers that he can.
Mr Sato is currently living in London. For two more years he will be studying English and improving his technical skills there and is not currently working for Replica Co. Ltd. Nevertheless he has the company’s blessing and support in trying to get The Fog Horn out into the world.
Avery added: “It is still very early in the process. What will happen from this point depends on a lot of factors. But one thing we can say: it is now hoped that the film will be released to the fans in some form or other.”